I feel your hurt
Over the last few years I’ve heard such sentiments as “I feel your hurt” more and more frequently.
Occasionally I’ve heard it augmented, as in “I feel your hurt and anger.”
Whenever someone has said it to me, I hadn’t felt any anger until I heard that sentiment uttered.
Why does it anger me?
Well for one thing, why “hurt”? To “hurt” is to deliberately inflict pain on another living creature. What they feel is not “hurt”, but “pain”. In that context “hurt” is a weasel word.
But the second reason is more important. Saying “I feel your hurt” strikes me as patronising, condescending, and above all dishonest.
If someone has had an unpleasant experience — an illness, an accident, death of a close friend or relative, in the past people would say something like “I’m sorry to hear about your misfortune.”
My sorrow, your misfortune.
But saying “I feel your hurt” is dishonest and hypocritical. If I break my leg, you do not feel my pain. If you break your leg at the same time, you might feel pain, but you feel your pain, not mine.
It’s like the headmaster caning the school boy and saying “This hurts me as much as it hurts you.”
I’m wondering if this kind of thing isn’t media-driven.
When there are reports in the media about unpleasant incidents in schools, for example, as when one pupil shoots another or stabs another with scissors or something, there is almost invariably something to the effect that other pupils or students are receiving trauma counselling. But the one who has suffered the greatest trauma is the one who has been shot or stabbed or whatever, not the vicarious hurt feelers.
So I wonder if the media are primed to ask whether the non-victims are receiving counselling because they don’t know what else to ask, and so the school authorities feel they have to say something because it seems that they are expected to.
Perhaps it is because in the West psychotherapy is the one religion that it is taboo to criticise.